MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
TO MUSLIMS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
FOR THE END OF RAMADAN ('ID AL-FITR)
To Muslims throughout the World
It gives me great pleasure to greet you as you celebrate ‘Id
al-Fitr’, so concluding the month of Ramadan, dedicated
mainly to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
It is a tradition by now that, on this occasion, the
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
sends you a message of good wishes, together with a proposed
theme for common reflection. This year, the first of my
Pontificate, I have decided to sign this traditional message
myself and to send it to you, dear friends, as an expression of
esteem and friendship for all Muslims, especially those who are
As you all know, when the Cardinals elected me as Bishop of Rome
and Universal Pastor of the Catholic Church, I chose the name of
“Francis”, a very famous saint who loved God and every human
being deeply, to the point of being called “universal brother”.
He loved, helped and served the needy, the sick and the poor; he
also cared greatly for creation.
I am aware that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular
prominence for Muslims during this period, and it is worth
noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas
with Christian faith and practice.
This year, the theme on which I would like to reflect with you
and with all who will read this message is one that concerns
both Muslims and Christians: Promoting Mutual Respect through
This year’s theme is intended to underline the importance of
education in the way we understand each other, built upon the
foundation of mutual respect. “Respect” means an attitude of
kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and
esteem. “Mutual” means that this is not a one-way process, but
something shared by both sides.
What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his
life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights
deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his
ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political
choices. We are therefore called to think, speak and write
respectfully of the other, not only in his presence, but always
and everywhere, avoiding unfair criticism or defamation.
Families, schools, religious teaching and all forms of media
have a role to play in achieving this goal.
Turning to mutual respect in interreligious relations,
especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to
respect the religion of the other, its teachings, its symbols,
its values. Particular respect is due to religious leaders and
to places of worship. How painful are attacks on one or other of
It is clear that, when we show respect for the religion of our
neighbours or when we offer them our good wishes on the occasion
of a religious celebration, we simply seek to share their joy,
without making reference to the content of their religious
Regarding the education of Muslim and Christian youth, we have
to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of
other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or
denigrating their convictions and practices.
We all know that mutual respect is fundamental in any human
relationship, especially among people who profess religious
belief. In this way, sincere and lasting friendship can grow.
When I received the
Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See on 22 March 2013,
I said: “It is not possible to establish true links with God,
while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify
dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking
particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the
beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of
so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world.”
With these words, I wished to emphasize once more the great
importance of dialogue and cooperation among believers, in
particular Christians and Muslims, and the need for it to be
With these sentiments, I reiterate my hope that all Christians
and Muslims may be true promoters of mutual respect and
friendship, in particular through education.
Finally, I send you my prayerful good wishes, that your lives
may glorify the Almighty and give joy to those around you.
Happy Feast to you all!
From the Vatican, 10 July 2013